Sign up today for GRI in Peoria Dec. 2-3

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Gain market insights, build your referral network, earn CE credit and learn from knowledgeable, engaging instructors at the IAR Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI), Dec. 2 and 3 at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria.

Sign up by Nov. 25 for only $209. If you’ve already taken GRI Courses I and II, you can earn your GRI designation this year, your last chance to earn the designation in a live classroom. After this year, the GRI program will be online only.

Check out the Course III Schedule or the Grad Course Schedule to see the topics that will be offered during the two day-long sessions. You’ll hear from engaging instructors like Carrie Bey-Little, Chris Bird, Tom Lundstedt, Lynn Madison and Betsy Urbance.

Since the Embassy Suites have sold out, contact the Holiday Inn & Suites in East Peoria for room reservations, either online or by phone (309) 694-0200.

Kick back and unwind after dinner, network with your colleagues and join the Ugly Christmas Sweater/REALTOR® Apparel party from 8 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, with live music from Patio DADDY-O.

Questions? Contact See you in Peoria!

Register now: IAR broker pre-license webinar Wednesday and Thursday

Norm Willoughby

Norm Willoughby

Sign up today to take the 15-hour Applied Real Estate Principles course Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 18 & 19) via IAR webinar, and you’ll learn without having to leave the comfort of home.

Veteran instructor Norm Willoughby will lead webinar sessions, beginning at 9 a.m. both days.  Registration is $159.

Once you complete the 90 hours of pre-license education, contact the IAR Licensing and Training Center at to have the course exams sent to one of our convenient local proctoring sites. The Training Center also provides an outline of the steps to take to get your real estate license and become a REALTOR®.

Willoughby is a licensed real estate instructor and a licensed real estate managing broker and auctioneer. He served as assistant commissioner for the State of Illinois Real Estate Professions Bureau, Office of Banks and Real Estate, from 1995 to 2003. Since 2003, he has served as the CEO of the Decatur Association of REALTORS® and, since 2012, also serves as CEO of the Central Illinois Board of REALTORS®. He served as chairperson of the state of Illinois Auction Advisory Board from 1999 to 2003 and served on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Real Estate Education Foundation (REEF).

Xplode 4: Is your website holding you back?


Eric Stegemann, Director of Strategy at Tribus Group, put volunteers’ websites through the “website shredder” at the Xplode Conference.

Eric Stegemann

Eric Stegemann

Here are some nuggets of wisdom from that event:

  • Avoid using stock photography on your website. Take down the generic smiling homeowners who also appear on all your competitors’ websites. Take your own pictures.
  • Keep your website’s home page simple and clean. Too many scrolling visuals distract users from what you want them to think about and do.
  • Put your testimonials up front! Ask your clients for feedback, take a photo and request their permission to publish it on your website.
  • Place your phone number on every page. Most serious buyers will call. Make it easy by posting your phone number on every page.
  • Include a contact form on the main page. Capture email leads right away when someone visits your site.
  • Make your property listings the most prominent link.
  • Install a chat feature.
  • Follow up on leads within 48 hours.

The Xplode Conference in Hoffman Estates was sponsored by the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Mainstreet Association of REALTORS®. This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about the Xplode Conference. See the first, second and third stories.

Xplode 3: Home tour videos that sell


You want to film a beautiful video of one of your listings. The home is staged and you have your smartphone in hand…now what?

Katie Lance

Katie Lance

Katie Lance, Founder & CEO of Katie Lance Consulting, gave these tips for shooting video at the Xplode Conference Nov. 4 in Hoffman Estates.

  • Shoot horizontally – the picture will fit more devices
  • Keep it short and simple – just the highlights
  • Be prepared – know what you want to film and in what order
  • Try to paint a picture of what it feels like to live there
  • Have a call to action at the end – close with a recommendation to call now and include your contact information
  • Use the Periscope app to live stream and add hashtags
  • Promote your video across several social media channels and email it directly to certain individuals and to your entire mailing list

The Xplode Conference was sponsored by the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Mainstreet Association of REALTORS®. This is the third in a series of blog posts about the conference. See the first and second blog posts.

Xplode 2: Tech for every client


xplodeLooking for new ways to wow clients? Annette Anthony, VP of Technology Engagement for EXIT Realty, gave Xplode Conference attendees her top picks for technology that delivers a personal touch.

Technology for nurturing leads

BombBomb: Instead of following up on leads with a dry, boring email, make yourself memorable with a video email message. The video plays without linking and is integrated with gmail, mobile and websites.

Crystal: Crystal is like a magic ball for marketing. Using data acquired from online profiles and user feedback, it delivers personality profiles of individuals you search for or have in your contact list. Profiles include insight into how to best communicate with each person.

Technology for buyers

ReaLync: Helpful for working with out-of-state buyers, this video platform allows REALTORS® to live stream home tours.

Technology for sellers

OpenHomePro: Instead of a clunky notepad, collect leads at open houses with this app. It is free to download and allows visitors more privacy.

REclarity: This video message maker allows you add voiceover to up to three images for messages that pop.

The Xplode Conference, held Nov. 4 in Hoffman Estates, was sponsored by the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Mainstreet Association of REALTORS®. This is the second in a series of blog posts from that conference. See the first story.